Trailblazing

Notes by Stephen Michael Kellat
Posts tagged as emergencies

Considering Boston

2013-04-16 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as emergencies

For the sake of the Ohio community, it must be remembered that today's hyperconnected world presents plenty of conundrums. When situations erupt such as in Boston, pictures and video of tragedy travel fast. This started with the First Gulf War in 1991 and has only accelerated in pace since then with the number of communications connections increasing.

The first thing to remember in an incident like this is that we're not there. While the images feel so close and the emotions are quite real, time and space separate us. Local law enforcement and civil contingency personnel are responding to the situation as fast as they can. In any search for a perpetrator of a heinous act, apprehension is not normally immediate.

It is quite human to seek answers. In the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event, answers might not necessarily be there to be found. In an increasingly connected world where communications move faster and faster, frustration happens easily when you see senselessness and try to attribute sense to it.

From outside an affected area, the first thing to do is to relieve stresses on communications lines. If you have loved ones, wait to call. Our Plain Ol' Telephone System end of contemporary telecommunications does have capacity limits. If the American Red Cross establishes Health & Welfare check-ins that then provides a rather alternative channel to get back in touch. Cellular telephone networks also have capacity limits and can collapse from overloading. If you get an all-circuits-busy signal, leave it be for a time.

It also has to be remembered outside an affected area that requests for help flow outwards rather than uncoordinated offers of aid flowing inward. The people on the ground closest to the incident know what is wrong and where help is needed most. Second-guessing them and playing arm-chair general from a distance causes harm rather than good. Local first responders are in charge until they are relieved or pass the responsibility on to higher command.

IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED that members of the Ubuntu Ohio Local Community Team take the time to pursue the FEMA Emergency Management Institute's independent study course "A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance" to gain an appreciation of how disaster assistance functions in the United States in general. Other courses are also available from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute to pursue if members are interested.

In the meantime, keep the folks in Boston in your thoughts and prayers. We continue to live in interesting times.